A simpler and cheaper licence system is being developed for gel blasters in South Australia after moves to regulate their sale and use.

The system follows widespread criticism of the new police measures from enthusiasts and retail outlets with fears some will go under and jobs will be lost.

Firearms Branch Superintendent Stephen Howard said police are working with TAFE to develop a specific safety course for gel blaster and paintball guns which will be shorter and cheaper than that for real guns.

He said police were also working to inspect the premises of those who want to host gel blaster activities so people could return to using them.

“The importation of gel blasters was suspended in February and this was the first indication (of) gel blasters being recognised as firearms,” Supt Howard said.

“However, now the Firearms Branch is working with dealers and retailers to provide them advice on how they can continue their business.

“More than 100 gel blasters have been surrendered to police stations since the regulations changed on Thursday.

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“Thank you to those people who have handed their firearms in.”

From Friday, gel blasters – which use compressed air to fire a projectile and often look like a real gun – became regulated imitation firearms, forcing owners to obtain a firearms licence within six months.

Police ruled that the firing mechanism met the threshold to be defined as a firearm.

Owners who don’t wish to obtain a licence can instead surrender their blasters to police or a firearms dealer under an amnesty to continue until April next year.

Police estimate there are currently about 62,000 of the blasters in circulation in SA.

AAP

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